Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: More Gigantes

Today's Sketchbook Sneak Peek sampler is a collection of facial studies of Gigantes, because I dearly love drawing Gigantes so...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Myth Manners- On Hospitality

Plagued by jealous gods? Bedeviled by man-eating monsters? In love with a centaur but you're allergic to fur? Maybe Myth Manners can help you!

Dear Myth Manners,

I know we’re supposed to respect the gods by showing all visitors hospitality, but my husband and I are really having a hospitality problem. We’ve been respectable goatherds all our lives and never had any issues before, but we just moved to be closer to our daughter and our new son-in-law, and our home is now right beside a public thoroughfare. We have visitors stopping in at all hours of the day and night, and if we have to slaughter any more goats to feed them, soon we won’t have a herd left to goatherd! Because we give the best bed to our guests, my husband and I haven’t even had a chance to sleep in our own bed in the new house yet. The gods can’t mean we’re supposed to be this hospitable, can they?

Sincerely, Harried by Hospitality

Dear Harried,

I’m afraid that the gods are absolute on this one: you must offer everyone who comes to your house hospitality. There’s a couple who lives a few towns away from me in Phrygia who had Zeus and Hermes come to visit in disguise. They offered hospitality where the rest of the town didn’t: now they’re the only ones alive.

Of course, every visitor that comes to your doorstep can’t be a god! But every time you refuse to honor the laws of hospitality, you’re risking your death. Perhaps think about moving away from the thoroughfare?

Progress report: The Glory of Hera--Pin-up

Some of the first finished black and white artwork I did for Olympians Book #3, The Glory of Hera, was the pin-ups for the bios at the end of the book. This is my drawing for Heracles ( influenced by the Farnese Hercules), who in a funny sort of way, is actually the title character of this book. Don't get me wrong, this is definitely the story of the Queen of Gods, but the name "Heracles" translates as "The Glory of Hera". Hera and Heracles have quite a complicated history, and the story of their conflict makes up the lion's share of Glory of Hera

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guest Artist Gallery: Simon Fraser

Introducing the first installment of a new feature where some of today's most exciting artists lend us their own vision of a favorite god, monster or hero from Greek mythology. Leading the way in this inaugural edition is Mr. Simon Fraser, bringing us his beautiful depiction of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love.

Of his colored pencil drawing of Aphrodite above, he has this to say: "I based her on Anna Nicole Smith and a girl I knew at High School, both worked out that love was the way to get what they wanted."

Born in Scotland, Simon Fraser has lived in France, Italy, Africa, and even a strange and foreign land known as "Brooklyn". He's well known for co-creating the swashbuckling Nikolai Dante, a sci-fi anti-hero from a 27th century interstellar Imperial Russia, in the pages of the famous British comics weekly magazine 2000AD. Perhaps the second tallest member of the web comic collective known as Act-i-Vate, he launched the creator-owned sci-fi adventure strip Lilly MacKenzie there. Lilly's first adventure, Lilly MacKenzie and the Mines of Charybdis is currently in the process of being prepared for publication in Judge Dredd Megazine. In addition to his many comics related skills, Mr. Fraser knows the full name name of every dinosaur to ever exist,including ones not yet discovered by science, and knows instinctively where to find a decent bar no matter where in the world you may drop him off. He has an impressive collection of hats.

Can you draw, paint, operate a camera, sculpt, etc.? Have a desire to capture the essence of your favorite figure from Greek myth and see it pictured here on this site? Send me a scan of your work, a few words about yourself and the piece, and I'll put it up!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Heracles and the Hydra

Because I'm doing finishes of this battle now, here's an old sketch book study of Heracles fighting the Hydra.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Progress report: The Glory of Hera-- rough draft

Update on Olympians Book 3, The Glory of Hera. The last time I wrote about this, I had just finished thumbnailing the book. Now, for your viewing pleasure, a sample of pages from the rough draft, or "dummy" of the book. After I break everything down into thumbnails, my next step is to create an actual "book", called a dummy, of my layouts, to better help me envision what the final pages will look like. The drawings are little more refined here than in the thumbnailing stage, but notice that some characters are still more or less just rough shapes. Especially that cow. Ugh. I need to get some good cow reference, and quickly.

More to come soon!

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Hermes

Today's Sketchbook Sampler is of my favorite Olympian, Hermes. Just posting this now, I noticed that his eyes are visible-- so far, in all the scenes I've drawn of him, his eyes have been in deep shadow. My little nod to his role as the God of Liars-- it seems his eyes should he hidden at all times. This might be the only time you get to see his peepers.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Antique of the Week: The Farnese Hercules

As it came time to create this week's installment of Antique of the Week, I've been hard at work on Olympians Book 3, The Glory of Hera. Obviously the Queen of the Gods herself steps up to take center stage in this chapter, but the book also focuses in large part on Heracles, the super-strong demi-god son of Zeus. In fact, in a way, the book is even named after him-- the title "Glory of Hera" is a translation from ancient Greek of Heracles's name.

So the statue we're looking at here is of Heracles, the famous Farnese Hercules. Heracles gets his Latin name here because this statue was created for Ancient Rome, and was located in the Baths of Caracalla (possibly a future candidate itself for Antique of the Week). The Farnese portion comes from when the statue was rediscovered in the sixteenth century and was promptly snatched up by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, nephew of the Pope. Nowadays the sculpture is on display at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, which is where I took these photos.

This statue is my favorite depiction of Heracles/Hercules from ancient sources, and my own depiction of the hero in Hera owes a lot to this sculpture. Things I particularly like-- his exaggerated musculature,and the weary, tired expression on his face and posture. I also really like the way that the sculptor worked in so many of Heracles's symbols-- tired, he leans against his olive wood club, around which he has draped the skin of the Nemean Lion- killing and skining that lion was Heracles's first Labour. Then, around his back, we see that he is holding a couple of the Apples of the Hesperides-- Golden apples from the private garden of Hera herself, which for his eleventh Labour Heracles was sent to fetch.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Myth Manners- On Mocking the Gods

Plagued by jealous gods? Bedeviled by man-eating monsters? In love with a centaur but you're allergic to fur? Maybe Myth Manners can help you!

Dear Myth Manners,

Whenever I’m at the local taverna and I’ve had a skinful of wine, I have an irresistible urge to make fun of the gods. I can’t help it! I just think some of the things they do are so ridiculous! For example, why in the world would Zeus choose to go courting in the form of a swan, a bull, or a shower of golden rain, no matter how attractive a shower of rain he was? Why would Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite waste one of Atlas’ golden apples on Paris, whose only redeeming quality was his hotness? Sometimes, the gods just make me want to giggle! But I feel like if the gods find out I’m laughing at them, they’re not going to be happy. But they shouldn’t be that mad, right? Honestly, what’s the worst that can happen?

Sincerely, Giggling at the Gods

Dear Giggling,

Unfortunately for you, the gods have a serious problem with people who point out their negative qualities. Think of them as teenagers, super-sensitive to any slight or insult, but with the powers of shape-changing, thunder and lightning, super-strength, weather-changing, etc. You don’t want to make them mad!

I had a friend recently who wove a tapestry to illustrate how ridiculous the gods were. Athena came and changed her into a spider! Granted, tapestries are a lot more permanent than taverna gossip, but I wouldn’t chance it if I were you!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: The Gigantes

In a bout of synchronicity with this week's Antique of the Week, here are some sketchbook samples of my take on those foes of the Olympians, the Gigantes. I based their designs on a cool snippet of a line from the 3rd Century BCE poet Lycophron, who said that Zeus created apes in mockery of the Gigantes, hence my Gigantes looking like big scaly gorillas. The scales come from multiple ancient references to the Gigantes having snake legs. looking back now, I see that somewhere in between Zeus: King of the Gods and Athena: Grey Eyed Goddess, the Gigantes go smooth. I guess they must have shed.

Antique of the Week: Athena Brandishing her Aegis

A photo from my own collection, from the Acropolis Museum in Athens. This particular statue had a big influence on my own depiction of Athena in Olympians, especially in regards to her Aegis. Originally part of the Old Temple (built on the site before the insanely iconic Parthenon that still stands today) this Athena was part of a sculptural group depicting the Gigantomachy, the battle of the Olympians against the Earth-born Gigantes. As displayed in the museum (unfortunately I didn't seem to record any photos of this) she looms over a vanquished Gigante, the triumphant Goddess of War.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Zeus: King of the Gods Released Today!

What more need I say? Available in all finer bookstores right now (and starting tomorrow, comic shops ).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Zeus and Kronos, again

In anticipation of the release this week of Zeus: King of the Gods, here's another sketchbook sampler of the King himself locked in (im)mortal combat with his father, Kronos the All-Devouring.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sketchbook Sneak Peek: Portrait of Zeus as a Young God

Seeing as how my last post was about Kronos, I figured that this one should be about his son, Zeus. The above is one of my favorite drawings of Zeus, the first one I did when I felt I really nailed his character. Eternally young, handsome, and powerful, but also a little brash, and a little dangerous. And with more than a little of his father in him. Zeus: King of the Gods goes on sale everywhere January 5th, an appropriate (if slightly late) date for the Baby New Year to Kronos' Father Time.